What Handwriting Style is Best for Dyslexics?

Posted by Brainspring on 18th Mar 2015

writing stylesHi everyone,

Looking at Dite’s blog on Monday, I noticed there was a debate going on in her comments section about what handwriting styles and handwriting programs work best for struggling students.  Many people with dyslexia also have difficulties with letter formation and fluent handwriting.

Read her post and the debate in the comments here: http://atlantareads.org/2015/03/is-cursive-really-better-for-dyslexics/

To Teach Cursive or Not to Teach Cursive, that is the Question

I did a little research on the topic and found conflicting opinions.  There were many articles that recommended cursive for students with dyslexia, like this one from the British Dyslexia Association.  This article and others argue for cursive because it reduced b and d reversals and the continuous flow helps students develop muscle memory for the letter, leading to improved writing speed and spelling.

On the other hand, other articles from reputable sources, like The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, state that people with dyslexia often have difficulty with cursive.  They argue that teaching cursive to students with dyslexia is an unnecessary burden for these students: “Children and adults who are dyslexic have inherent difficulties with letter formation involved with cursive writing as well as spelling. To a dyslexic, letter formation is tedious rather than natural.  This has nothing to do with motivation or ability, but rather represents an inherent quality of being dyslexic.  Having to devote energies to cursive handwriting inhibits the full expression of a dyslexic student’s creativity, imagination, and ability to show what they know. “

In her blog, Dite states that she herself had trouble with cursive and finds many of her students struggle with it as well.  For those students, Dite often uses Handwriting Without Tears , a program that teaches a simplified cursive style.  Getty-Dubay, an italic writing style, is brought up by someone in the comments and a debate follows about the approaches.

I’d like to know your opinions about writing styles and programs.

  • What handwriting program or style do you prefer?
  • Do you think we still need to be teaching cursive to our students?  Do you think we still need to teach handwriting at all?
  • If you or your student have dyslexia, was cursive helpful or difficult to learn?

I’m also interested in hearing about what/how handwriting is taught/not taught in your school.  For those of you who have been teaching several years, what changes have you seen in recent years with the rise of technology?


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